The world around us is changing at a pace we’re hardly able to capture, and sometimes in directions difficult to foresee. Yet, we must do our best to understand, because the future of the maritime industry is indisputably intertwined with the deeper changes in geopolitics, world economy and human development.
A constant state of change has always been a feature of our industry, and we know very well that there are moments when more radical shifts will occur. I believe we’re at the threshold of such a moment right now. Driving this revolution are threats from climate change and profound social instability, combined with opportunities produced by the staggering rise of urban middle-class and breathtaking technological developments in an ever more globalised and knowledge-driven economy. Together, they will fundamentally impact and change the way we live our lives and do our business.
It is troubling to see how some respond to these changes by retracting from the global community, ignoring our commonalities and undermining shared international commitments. It is worrying when countries we used to trust as standard-bearers for an open, free and inclusive world now are feasting on self-centered concepts of a world divided between us and them, encouraged by a public outcry for higher barriers and stronger borders.
That is not our way. True, the shipping markets have been in turmoil since the economic crisis hit us in 2008. And yes, many of us have been through some serious struggles just to survive these last years. And I know, we still have difficulties ahead of us. But we have also learned that risks can emerge hand in hand with new and exciting opportunities. For centuries, shipping has opened and connected the world to a splendid exchange of goods and services, knowledge, people and ideas. Demanding times only encourages us to find new and better ways. Just like we did when Grieg Star and Gearbulk joined forces and launched G2 Ocean, the largest fleet of open hatch vessels worldwide. With a vision of «Pioneering sustainable shipping solutions», our mind-set and goals are certainly to take a lead in the next era of international shipping.
Our response from the Grieg Group is very clear: Individuals, governments and businesses – we are in this together. Our commitment to the UN Global Compact and support for the Sustainable Development Goals are acknowledgements of our responsibility as global citizens. Together we must address some serious challenges. They are shared across countries and political divides, languages, cultures and religious beliefs, across continents and the deep oceans. Because healthy businesses thrive within healthy societies. And healthier societies can only come true when we, the private sector, are engaged to develop profitable and sustainable business-solutions responding to human needs. So, we’ll have to joint our forces, mobilize our finest resources – and act together. That’s the only viable way forward.
Chair of Grieg Star